Peter Andrew Danzig is a popular actor and choreographer in Philadelphia. He resides in South Philadelphia with his boyfriend, and he’s routinely walked the streets at night without any problems. But that all changed on Thursday.
Danzig says he was walking home alone from the subway stop at Broad and Oregon around 7:45 p.m. on Thursday night when he encountered a large party in the street at 10th and Oregon.
“It was this big tailgating type of party,” he tells us. “The street was closed off, and there was a ton of drinking in the streets.”
It turns out that the party was the local celebration for the 241st birthday of the United States Marine Corps. There’s a bar on the corner called Cookies Tavern that has hosted the party for more than 30 years.
As Danzig was walking through the crowd on the street, he says that one man called out to him, asking him if he knew where the closest “titty bar” was. Danzig says he didn’t want to just ignore the guy, so he told him that he had no idea.
According to Danzig, things quickly escalated, and the man and some of his friends began using homophobic slurs.
“Him and his friends — there were about three of them — were calling me ‘faggot’ and ‘queer’ and ‘homo,’” Danzig says.
Then, Danzig says, the men began throwing bottles at him as he ran away from them. Fortunately, he says, most of them bottles hit the backpack he was wearing, and he didn’t suffer any serious injuries.
He says the men continued to chase him as he ran down Oregon Avenue. Finally, he tells us, he realized that he had lost them after he turned up another street: “I’m not sure if that’s because I outran them or because they were drunk or what.”
Danzig says he ran inside his home, locked the door, and waited for his partner to come home. When we last spoke with him on Friday, he told us he had contacted police and was waiting to provide a statement.
After more than a decade living in South Philadelphia, the Brooklyn native says this is the first time that anything like this has ever happened to him.
“I have never — never — had a problem until last night,” he insists. “I have never been attacked. I’ve never even been verbally abused.”
We asked him whether this was all just a coincidence or if he associates what happened to him to the alarming string of hate crimes and hate speech that have been reported since Election Day.
“I’m not really sure,” he replied. “I honestly can’t tell you. But it’s pretty clear that tensions are high this week and that people feel free to act in ways that they normally wouldn’t have before. People seem to have more permission to act out.”
As for walking home in South Philadelphia, Danzig says he won’t be doing that alone again anytime soon.
“I’ve organized one or two people to come home with me,” he tells us. “Or I’ll take Uber. I just don’t feel safe walking around. I just don’t feel safe right now.”
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